The Tops and Flops of Serie A Round 33: Thuram Crowns Inter, Napoli Disintegrate

When the Derby della Madonnina and the decisive Scudetto showdown combine in one gigantic fixture, everything else ought to take a backseat. In what was a historic occasion, Inter beat Milan in the Derby which mathematically sealed the club’s 20th Scudetto title, which in turn unlocked the Second Star, one that the Rossoneri were also craving. You just couldn’t write this stuff. Yet, loyal to our customs, we’re still determined to recap the events of the weekend while also shedding some light on the most intriguing action, whether it involves the big clubs or the smaller ones. So here are our Tops and Flops of Serie A Round 33.

Top (Player): Marcus Thuram

Was it the most scintillating individual display of the Serie A weekend? Perhaps not, but does it truly matter?

Marcus Thuram was arguably the Man of the Match in the Derby della Madonnina. He created lovely plays for his teammates – including a sitter that Lautaro Martinez shockingly missed – before finding the back of the net himself with a brilliant low drive. Inter’s second goal eventually proved to be the winner, so the Frenchman will forever be synonymous with the second star.

Not a bad achievement in his maiden campaign at the club.

Extra Top (Player): Oussama El Azzouzi

In earnest, Oussama El Azzouzi would have been hard done by the snub, as he certainly deserved a mention following a stunning out-of-the-blue display in the 3-1 win over Roma at the Stadio Olimpico.

While Serie A fans have grown accustomed to the likes of Joshua Zirkzee, Lewis Ferguson and Riccardo Calafiori, the Morrocan hasn’t been featuring as a starter for Bologna this season, but he certainly made the most out of a rare opportunity on Monday, stunning Daniele De Rossi’s men with a superb goal as well as an assist.

It feels as if Thiago Motta can always produce a winning card out of his sleeve.

Flop (Player): Lorenzo Lucca

More often than not, we mention defenders who commit howlers in the particular section, but this time, it’s Lorenzo Lucca who gets the nod after missing two sitters for Udinese who were desperate for points in their relegation six-pointer against Verona who eventually prevailed thanks to a last-minute winner from hometown hero Diego Coppola.

It remains to be seen if these wasted goalscoring opportunities will cost the Zebrette a place in Serie A next season, but they certainly cost Gabriele Cioffi his job, with a certain Fabio Cannavaro coming in as a replacement.

Top (Manager): Davide Nicola

Before Davide Nicola’s arrival, many considered Empoli’s survival bid a lost cause, identifying their squad as the weakest in Serie A. But unlike Paolo Zanetti and Aurelio Andreazzoli, the incumbent boss is proving everyone wrong.

On Saturday, the Tuscans delivered yet another slap in the face for Napoli by registering a well-deserved 1-0 victory courtesy of Alberto Cerri’s early goal. While they aren’t safe just yet, few would have imagined Empoli sitting outside the relegation zone (in the 16th place) come late April, but when it comes to impossible escapes, Nicola is simply the best in the business – just ask Crotone and Salernitana.

Flop (Manager): Davide Ballardini

While one Davide enjoyed a glorious weekend, the other had to suffer the consequences to preserve the equilibrium. Therefore, Ballardini endured a torrid afternoon at the Mapei Stadium, with his team completely outplayed by Lecce from start to finish.

Perhaps it’s not entirely the fault of the experienced manager, but he surely didn’t possess any answers to spare his side a 3-0 humbling at the hands of a direct relegation foe, as the Neroverdi continue to drown deeper.

Top (Team): Lecce

Speaking of the Giallorossi, this was truly an outrageously good performance away from home. Luca Gotti’s men simply ran through the sorry Sassuolo, suffocating them in the final third.

The left side featuring Antonino Gallo and Patrick Dorgu deserves a special mention. These two set the flank on fire, as portrayed by their wonderful combination on the opening goal.

Flop (Team): Napoli

Napoli just can’t find any momentum this season. Every time they threaten to put together a small winning run, they end up smashing against the wall on the first corner. It’s very difficult to explain how Victor Osimhen, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and company can fail to forge a single goal against a humble Empoli side, despite trailing for the entire match.

At this point, we’re running out of superlatives to describe just how cringy the Partenopei’s campaign has been this term.

Top (Goalkeeper): Yann Sommer

There were some instances this season where Yann Sommer was reduced to a mere spectator, with Inter asserting their authority all over the pitch. However, this wasn’t the case in the Derby, as the Swiss goalkeeper was forced into action on several occasions and was always able to rise to the plate, denying the likes of Davide Calabria and Christian Pulisic.

The 35-year-old even produced a solid stop on Matteo Gabbia’s header, but could do nothing about Fikayo Tomori’s rebound which denied him of what would have been a warranted clean sheet.

Flop (Goalkeeper): Mile Svilar

With three goals conceded and zero saves, the stats are unkind to Mile Svilar. Perhaps his outing wasn’t as disastrous as the numbers suggest, but the Roma goalkeeper looked uncharacteristically shaky between the spots during his side’s defeat at the hands of Bologna.

Top (Match): Milan vs Inter

This one wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing fixture, but it will still go down as one of the most iconic clashes in Calcio history for its outcome.

At one point, it risked descending into a dull affair with Milan showing little tenacity, but even the Inter faithful were grateful for Tomori’s goal. After all, that late twist ignited a dramatic finale with three players sent off due to recurring brawls.

Flop (Match): Torino vs Frosinone

Torino needed a win to maintain their slender European hopes, while Frosinone were desperate for three points that could have elevated them above the relegation. But based on the two teams’ display, you would hardly know it, as they both settled for a listless stalemate.

Top (Super-Sub): Daniel Maldini

Daniel Maldini loves a goal against a Lombardian opponent. The young winger crept one past Atalanta goalkeeper Marco Carnesecchi to reduce the deficit, and almost produced a similar equalizer, but saw his effort denied by the post.

Nevertheless, the Milan loanee’s shares continue to rise with every fresh outing for Monza.

Top (Supporters): Lecce

As we mentioned above, Lecce produced a sensational away display against Sassuolo. But depending on the atmosphere inside the stadium, one would scarcely believe the Giallorossi were on the road, as their supporters managed to turn the Stadio Mappei into the Via del Mare.

Flop (Couple): Theo Hernandez & Denzel Dumfries

These two have become Calcio’s answer to Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock, or Tom and Jerry. They are simply destined to be at each other’s throats every time they cross paths.

But with Denzel Dumfries introduced in the 84th minute, they didn’t have any time to waste, especially on what could be the Dutchman’s final act in the Derby della Madonnina before a potential summer exit.

So in injury time, Theo Hernandez committed a foul on everyone’s favorite victim Davide Frattesi. This challenge was always going to earn the Frenchman a second booking, so at this point, he was a dead man walking. Therefore, he had no reason to back down when Dumfries rushed to challenge him for a fight, sparking an inevitable Derby melee that saw both men sent off.

If this is to be their last clash, then we can only thank them for all the notorious memories.

Top (Goal): Oussama El Azzouzi

Such filthy acrobatic efforts will get the nod more often than not in our book. So enjoy this effort from this weekend’s unexpected revelation.

Follow us on Google News for more updates on Serie A and Italian football

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *